Media walk-out over Jang issue

By Asim Yasin

ISLAMABAD: The issue of gagging the press by harassing the Jang Group spilled over to the press galleries in the National Assembly and Senate on Thursday afternoon when the media joined hands in condemning the government's attempts to curb their expression of freedom. In this regard, the journalists staged a token walkout from the galleries of both the houses to register their protest over the government's policy to lay siege to the press.

The journalists patiently waited for the government's reply in both the houses since the last three days but on Thursday they expressed their grievances when the government failed to deliver as Information Minister Mushahid Hussain left the National Assembly after the Question-Hour. Later, Parliamentary Secretary for Information Anwarul Haq Ramey and Tariq Aziz MNA came to the gallery to ask the journalists to end their walkout.

Speaking on the occasion, the parliamentary secretary said the government believes in the freedom of press. When his attention was drawn towards one-sided projection of the government's view on the PTV over the Jang Group issue, he said the government was ready to give the time to Chief Editor of Jang group to tell his side of the story on the PTV. The journalists also staged a taken walkout from the Senate's press gallery when the information minister rose on his feet to wind up the debate on the Jang issue.

The members of Parliamentary Press Gallery also passed a resolution against President of Rawalpindi Press Club Nawaz Raza who tried to create division among the journalists by not participating in the walkout from the Senate. He announced he had met the information minister, and insisted the media should cover both the minister and the leader of the opposition Aitzaz Ahsan.

The resolution condemned the president of the RPC and some of his companions who tried to create division among the journalists by not participating in the walkout from the Senate. The resolution said he did so even after giving assurances he would stand with the community in the walkout.

The News International Pakistan